ReframeToday’s Word: ‘REFRAME’ as in… pausing again to reframe our thinking about fasting.

I want to reimagine, rediscover and reframe how this ancient practice of fasting can be much more than dieting, or not eating chocolate, or giving up cream in my coffee or not drinking coffee at all from now until the middle of April.

Fasting is an ancient practice; the human family has been at this for a while. Including Jesus. Including many before him. Including Isaiah, the prophet.

In Isaiah 58 there is a very clear reframing of fasting that is insightful. Yahweh, speaking through Isaiah to “all the people of God everywhere” says,

This is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke, setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke, sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and homeless, clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.”

This is the challenge to fast in a way that has little or nothing to do with our chocolate or our coffee. It’s a challenge to consider new ways to love God and love others whom God has placed in our lives.

We’re set free to fast from our fear of others, to fast from the ways we include, exclude and separate people into categories, to fast from wasting resources, to fast from limited methods of reading ancient wisdom in ways that are self-serving.

Let’s allow our fasting to help us become more aware of systems that are in place—perhaps deeply in place that overlook the voiceless and powerless, the hopeless and, well, those that we might say are simply “less than us.”

Perhaps the best gift of Lent is to allow our own hunger—however we understand and experience hunger—move us ever more toward being fully human, fully free, alive and fully resurrected people.

When we give ourselves to that, our fast just may help us “…remove from our midst oppression… so that the light will rise for us in our darkness, and the gloom shall become for us like midday…”


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